Laser hair removal is a high-tech medical procedure that makes use of a beam of light to eliminate undesired hair. This laser pulsates to pass through the skin and reach each individual hair follicle. The laser’s intense heat damages the follicles and subsequently halts additional hair growth. This procedure is especially effective for those who have hair that is somewhat dark in color as the laser seeks out the pigmented portion of the hair. We commonly apply this treatment to the underarms, legs, chin, upper lip and bikini line. In fact, laser hair removal can remove undesired hair along any portion of the body but for the eyelid.
How It WorksLaser hair removal commences with a consultation with one’s doctor. We will review the patient’s medical history and medication, while also possibly taking photos of the targeted body sight. We will then discuss the treatment in-depth and have Dr. Paul Dillon or have another professional medical staff member administer the treatment. However, if Dr. Paul Dillon does not perform the treatment himself, he will likely supervise the licensed nurse or physician’s assistant performing the procedure.
The beam moves through the skin to the little follicles where the hair growth starts. The laser beam’s intense heat damages those undesired hair follicles to the point that it inhibits their growth. Those who are looking to eliminate hair for an extensive period of time will find it prudent to participate in multiple laser hair removal sessions.
This treatment is rapidly growing in popularity as lasers pinpoint those dark and/or coarse hairs without causing any damage to the skin in the surrounding spaces. Lasers operate with sequential pulses that take a mere fraction of a second to work their magic. These pulses treat multiple hairs at once. In fact, laser hair removal has the potential to treat an area of hair the size of a quarter in a single second.
The Process of Laser Hair RemovalThe patient is provided with special goggles to safeguard the eyes from the laser beam. The doctor might also place a topical anesthetic on the skin to minimize potential discomfort. During the treatment, we will trim the hair to a couple millimeters above the surface of the skin. We will adjust the laser equipment based on the thickness, color, and location of the hair as well as the patient’s skin color. The doctor presses a laser instrument to the skin. There is no need to worry about skin damage or pain as there is a cooling device along the instrument tip to safeguard the skin. In some instances, we will use a cool gel to protect the skin.
The doctor then activates the laser to inhibit hair growth. If the patient is looking for laser hair removal to a small portion of the body like the upper lip, the treatment might take a couple minutes. If the patient desires laser hair removal for a larger portion of the body like the back, the treatment could last multiple hours.
Once the procedure is over, the patient might notice a bit of swelling or redness in the following hours. If any discomfort occurs, the patient should treat the area with ice. If a skin reaction occurs in the immediate aftermath of the treatment, the doctor will use a steroid cream to soothe the affected body site.
Other Facts that are Pertinent to the ProcessWhen preparing for laser hair removal, one should stay out of the sunlight. A sunburn or tan heightens the chances of side effects like skin lightening. A patient with a tan should wait until his or her skin returns to normal before having the treatment performed. Patients should also avoid waxing, plucking and electrolysis to boot. Such hair removal methods will interfere with the laser hair treatment. A prospective patient should shave prior to the procedure so the laser does not target the hair that is above the skin.
Patients should avoid sunlight and tanning beds following the laser hair removal procedure. Once the skin heals, we encourage patients to apply sunscreen before spending time in direct sunlight. Hair shedding is also possible in the days or weeks following treatment. Several treatments will extend the duration of hair loss. In some instances, multiple treatments can lead to several years without that annoying hair. Yet, there is a slight chance that hair regrowth will occur. Patients usually obtain the best results with multiple treatments spaced a couple months apart. In general, permanent hair loss occurs following three to seven laser hair removal sessions. Some patients find periodic treatments for maintenance are helpful.
If you would like to learn more about laser hair removal and the various treatments we provide, call (847) 429-3185 to schedule a consultation.